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School CP - March 1985

Ottawa Citizen, Ontario, 5 March 1985

Ban corporal punishment in schools, not homes: law reform commission

By Stephen Bindman
Citizen staff writer

The Criminal Code should be amended to ban the strap from Canadian schools although parents should still be allowed to use reasonable force to discipline their children, the Law Reform Commission says.

In a working paper released today, the commission also says wife-beaters, child abusers and others involved in domestic violence should be subject to harsher punishment.

The commission's president, Mr. Justice Allen Linden, said while the criminal law is in theory adequate to deal with family violence, most goes unpunished "due to difficulties of detection, problems of proof and general attitudes."


In a report on Canada's assault laws, which it says are in a state of "disarray," the commission says allowing corporal punishment in schools "institutionalizes the use of force within schools" and is "neither necessary nor justifiable."

The commission recommends the government repeal Section 43 of the Code which says a school teacher is "justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil ... who is under his care if the force does not exceed what is reasonable in the circumstances."

A majority of the commission, set up in 1971 to advise the federal government on modernizing Canada's laws, said repealing the section could lead to worse consequences by "exposing the family to incursion of state law enforcement for every trivial slap or spanking, raising the question whether Canadians want to live in such a society."

But a minority of commissioners called for a total ban on corporal punishment, saying prosecutors have enough discretion to prevent trivial prosecutions.

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Colin Farrell
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